Forward momentum

Goal vs. Durango spurs change for Central

Central’s Cierra Pennal controls the ball Saturday as Durango’s Emily Barney, 6, and Amanda Urban, left, converge in the Warriors’ 4-1 loss.

When defenseman Emily Dufford bombed a 35-yard rainbow over Durango’s goalkeeper Saturday, the Central High School girls soccer team found what it had been searching for all season.

Players and fans were smiling again.

After a rough season with growing pains, the Warriors were excited to play soccer.

Although Central lost 4-1 at Long Family Memorial Park, coach Jacob Pingel said the goal was a turning point for his team.

Central (1-11-2, 0-8-1 Southwestern League) is a defensive team. The Warriors had scored one goal in league play and had gone scoreless in league games the past month. But they found an offensive identity against Durango (9-4-1, 7-2 SWL). 

“That goal is what we’ve been working for all season,” Pingel said. “It’s been tough bringing a new mentality into a team that hasn’t had it before. We put five defenders back, and everyone has seen it all year long. But it’s not about playing scared on defense, but moving them up and creating runs forward.

“Kindred Michael has been working that all year, and Emily bought into it today when she scored that goal. It was a momentum and mentality changer.

“Unfortunately we were gassed from playing an overtime game (Friday), but once we got out of our own heads and started playing for each other, we played a lot better in the second half.”

Central fell behind quickly in the first half when Lauren Milliet scored two goals in the first eight minutes. Durango added two more goals before halftime.

Early in the second half, Dufford scored, and something clicked with the Central backfield. The midfielders, who had been clearing the ball out of their backfield all game, forced play forward. Central, which had been held shotless in the first half, had five in the second half.

“I found out that I could go up and work hard with my wing player,” Dufford said. “I give props to (Bre Dunham) because she had an awesome pass for my goal. I just got pumped after that and that’s when all the different play started coming out.”

Central faces league leader Grand Junction on Tuesday during the Warriors’ senior night. The Tigers beat Central 1-0 in their first match. Pingel hopes the Warriors’ shift in mentality carries over to the rivalry game.

“It will go any direction,” Pingel said of the game. “They need to start playing for each other and not worrying about winning. If they work together and play for each other, the wins will come.”


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